Experts and BHG readers answer.
defoliation of rose
"Roses can grow indefinitely in a container if they have a large enough root volume, a good potting mix, and receive the proper care. Rocks at the bottom of the container actually harm drainage rather than help it. It's fine to cover the drainage holes with a piece of broken pottery, but avoid placing rocks at the bottom of the container. They only serve to reduce the rooting volume.
I suspect that your Mr. Lincoln rose is still in transplant shock. Bare root plants should be planted immediately. Otherwise the fine roots dessicate and die. The plant must first regenerate those lost roots before it can support any leaves and top growth. The plant will try to leaf out, but when it doesn't get adequate moisture and nutrients from roots, the leaves will die. Then it has to go through the process again. By now your rose may have some roots and perhaps the cycle will end."